'Elijah in the Wilderness', Frederic Leighton, 1877-78
Oil on canvas, 243.3 x 210.4cm
Accession Number WAG147
The prophet Elijah is fleeing from Jezebel who is determined to kill him. In this painting he is asleep in the wilderness and an angel from God is bringing him bread and water. The angel seems to have just landed. His splendid wings are still extended. The prophet, his magnificently muscled body contrasting with the fluttering draperies of the angel, sleeps on as the angel looks down on him.
Lord Leighton was one of the most successful painters of the High Victorian era and this is one of his greatest works.
An extended essay on 'Elijah in the Wilderness' is available online as part of our artwork of the month series. A recording of a talk by Peter Betts on this painting is also available.